TUNGATE: BRITISH RETURN COULD BOOST SGP BID
Australian champion Rohan Tungate hopes his UK comeback with Oxford boosts his bid for FIM Speedway Grand Prix qualification.
Tungate has agreed terms with the Oxford Spires as the club enters a team into Britain’s top flight for the first time since their closure in 2007.
While Tungate has dipped in and out of British racing in recent times, he has made stellar progress in Poland, where he averaged a very solid 2.171 points per race for Zielona Gora as they won the First Division in 2023 – now known as the Metalkas 2. Ekstraliga.
He heads into 2024 on a huge high after seeing off Speedway GP first reserve Max Fricke to win his second Australian Championship in January.
Tungate will be racing for Rybnik in the Metalkas 2. Ekstraliga and Indianerna in Sweden’s Bauhaus Elitserien. But he believes a return to Britain’s varied and technical tracks could be just what he needs as he bids to take his latest shot at Speedway GP qualification, earned by his Aussie title triumph.
He said: “When it comes to GP qualification rounds, you have to race on slick tracks and grippy tracks, and you have to adapt. There’s more of a variety of tracks in Britain. It keeps you sharp and you are always learning.
“You have a variety of different tracks – some with grippy starts, slick starts, bad conditions, good conditions. You have a bit of everything.
“I haven’t been to Britain for a few years. I had a little stint with Ipswich in 2022, but I am looking forward to coming back and racing in Britain – just to be on the bike more and keep sharp. It will be nice to come back and see some old fans and friends.”
Tungate has raced two Speedway GP heats – incredibly winning both of them as a track reserve at the 2017 FIM Australian Speedway GP in Melbourne. But he is hopeful he will make more than a cameo appearance in the series one day.
“I would love to give it a go in my career,” he said. “It’s always tough to go to the qualifiers. But this year I can pick where I want to race after winning the Aussie title. It’s nice to be in that position and hopefully I can put in a good result.”